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Pro-Perry PAC Changing Name, Expanding Mission

One of the two leading super PACs supporting Texas Gov. Rick Perry in his bid for the GOP presidential nomination will soon change its name, underscoring the fluid and unpredictable role such groups are playing in the 2012 election.

Run by California political consultant and GOP operative Bob Schuman, the political action committee now known as Americans for Rick Perry will rename itself the Restoring Prosperity Fund by Oct. 1, Schuman said.

“Having his name on it, we felt, might be confusing to small donors,” said Schuman, who added that the PAC now plans to raise as much as $6 million between now and the GOP primary. Schuman said the group had seen an uptick in small donations at the time of the Iowa straw poll in mid-August, which coincided with Perry’s official entry into the race. Super PAC organizers wanted to ensure small donors didn’t mistakenly think they were giving to Perry’s campaign, which by law must remain independent from the PAC, Schuman explained.

The name change also signals the group’s plans to “become a more permanent organization,” Schuman said, with an eye to investing not just in the 2012 primary but in the general election. The PAC is also gearing up to back targeted Senate candidates, Schuman said, though he declined to name names.

If Perry fails to win the primary, the PAC’s new name will also arguably make it easier for the group to jump behind whoever becomes the nominee. If that turns out to be ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is emerging as Perry’s chief primary rival, the new Restoring Prosperity Fund name could also create some fresh confusion. A multimillion-dollar super PAC backing Romney has a somewhat similar moniker: Restore Our Future.

Super PACs such as Schuman’s are increasingly dominating 2012 campaign fundraising, thanks to last year’s Supreme Court ruling that freed up such groups to raise and spend unlimited corporate and union money as long as they don’t coordinate with candidates.

Another pro-Perry super PAC, Make Us Great Again, outlined plans to spend as much as $55 million in 2012, according to an internal memo disclosed recently by NBC news.

Make Us Great Again spokesman Jason Miller downplayed that report, telling Roll Call, “The initial $55 [million] number was from an early planning document, so I wouldn’t put much stock in any one detail.” He declined to specify the PAC’s fundraising target. At least two other super PACs, both of them backed by veterans, are also raising money to help Perry.

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